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WELL in the property sector: A new hype?

"A label as a competitive advantage in the property sector."

The property sector is evolving with the changing needs of society, but with stricter energy standards, each new-build project seems to be environmental and “green”. So, the question arises as to how a project can stand out. An innovative concept has arrived from the United States in the shape of the WELL Certificate. We asked Project Manager Laura to tell us more.

Hi Laura, can you first briefly explain what the WELL Certificate is about? Is it another sustainability label?

The WELL Certificate does not replace but is rather complementary to labels such as BREEAM or BEN. It not only focuses on a building’s sustainability, but also takes a more holistic approach to the overall health, productivity, and well-being of its users.

Interview met onze experte Laura

So, if it’s not just about sustainability, what else is required to receive the Certificate?

We measure a building’s positive influence on its users based on ten elements, namely air, water, nutrition, light, movement, comfort, mind, sound, material, and community. There are guidelines for each element, such as natural light, sustainable materials, but also the promotion of healthy nutrition or mental health awareness.  It really is about a long-term vision that must also be supported by the users.

BREEAM has several levels that can be achieved. Does the same apply here?                                 

Yes, it does. A building must meet certain preconditions to be able to receive a WELL Certificate. It will also earn additional points for each optimisation. These points determine whether a building will receive a bronze, silver, gold, or platinum label.

It sounds like an exciting innovation. Is the Certificate catching on?

The number of WELL projects is increasing rapidly, also in Europe. In just a few years, more than 100 projects were registered in France, 57 in the Netherlands, 11 in Germany. In the United Kingdom we see a real boom: up to 1.322 projects have requested the WELL certificate. By comparison, the Belgian market seems to be lagging. For now, only the French company Plastic Omnium has confirmed the construction of a WELL-certified building in Brussels.

So, at the moment, we can only find examples of WELL-certified buildings abroad?

That is correct. In Rotterdam, the Blaak16 office building received a Gold certificate. Climate ceilings guarantee continuously comfortable temperatures. The Parisian Ampère E+ building went even further. Together with the Belgian company BioOrg, they experimented with a new method using micro-organisms to purify the air. As a result, the building received the Platinum label.

Is the label only for office buildings?

No, there are also examples of residential projects:  mainly in the United States or China, but there are already a few in Europe, including in Spain, France, and Italy.

WELL is not yet widely known in Belgium, but you think this should change? 

What makes WELL unique is that it tries to provide an answer to the human side of the property sector. It launches a platform to consider how the property sector can also support the new way of working and living.

Should office plans include gender-neutral toilet areas? Should bedrooms be able to block radio signals during certain hours for better sleep quality? These are just a couple of small examples, but I do think that we should have a discussion in Belgium that goes beyond smart services or energy efficiency as a matter of urgency.

Is België al klaar voor WELL?

The WELL Certificate has a clear added value for the users. Does it also have direct advantages for developers?

Yes, indeed, the WELL Certificate offers an exceptional sales advantage precisely because it is still new in Belgium. It will be essential to communicate that correctly.

What do you mean by that?

Today's buyers are no longer persuaded by labels stuck on text-heavy flyers, but are more critical and will make comparisons. Authentic experiences and a coherent marketing strategy are just as meaningful.

Effective communication means a good understanding of the target groups and how to address them personally using the appropriate tools. So why not, for example, offer a fresh juice instead of a flyer, a pop-up on the website that reminds you to be physically active, or a large plant wall for the site partition?

I assume that you know how to communicate these things?

(laughs) Indeed. We have already developed a communication strategy for new WELL buildings in Luxembourg and Romania. You will soon be able to find out exactly how we did this on our website.

Would you like to know more?

Would you like to receive advice from our experts to market your new project? We are happy to help!

Contact us


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